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5.0 von 5 Sternen Triumphant and Tragic
Were it not for fascinating books of American history, like this one, episodes of our illustrious, and tragic, past might be easily forgotten. That the Lewis and Clark expedition is an interesting story is an understatement, but what sets this book apart from other interesting books of history is that Ambrose does not allow the reader to shelter himself/herself from...
Veröffentlicht am 17. Juli 2000 von Todd Thompson

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3.0 von 5 Sternen A good book, but not a great book
This is indeed a fascinating story, well worth reading. As intimate an account as is feasible 200 years or so after the event. Ambrose does make it plausible that Lewis and Clark were indeed great leaders, who accomplished an extremely difficult feat. Certainly they were not perfect - but who was? Obviously they have to be seen within the context of their age. This...
Am 21. Juli 2000 veröffentlicht


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3.0 von 5 Sternen A good book, but not a great book, 21. Juli 2000
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West (Taschenbuch)
This is indeed a fascinating story, well worth reading. As intimate an account as is feasible 200 years or so after the event. Ambrose does make it plausible that Lewis and Clark were indeed great leaders, who accomplished an extremely difficult feat. Certainly they were not perfect - but who was? Obviously they have to be seen within the context of their age. This book is well written, but with a little too much routine. What I sadly miss in the book are good maps, and a good sense of place and movement. It is not always easy to follow this trip on an atlas, which would be part of the experience. Ambrose is struggling to be politically correct and some of his words on minorities are stereotype and condescending. Occasionally he breaks out into glorification of American history and his comparisons of late 18th century colonial Virginia with ancient Athens are, frankly, rediculous. The lasting impression of this book: how many good experiences the explorers did have with the native Americans, who seemed to have been mostly helpful, understanding and peaceful, at least towards the whites. These "savages" no more deserve that term than the ruthless immigrants who left wars behind them in Europe and carried on warring in the New World.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Triumphant and Tragic, 17. Juli 2000
Von 
Todd Thompson "tthompson" (Grapevine, TX USA) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West (Taschenbuch)
Were it not for fascinating books of American history, like this one, episodes of our illustrious, and tragic, past might be easily forgotten. That the Lewis and Clark expedition is an interesting story is an understatement, but what sets this book apart from other interesting books of history is that Ambrose does not allow the reader to shelter himself/herself from the hard personal questions about leadership and personal tragedy. I found myself reflecting on my own style of leadership, and my own personal failures and triumphs. A novel of exploration could not have been better written nor conceived.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen A for content; C for writing, 26. April 1997
Von Ein Kunde
If my history teacher had graded this book, she no
doubt would have reminded us that we cannot
forget good writing when we leave English class.
The content was fascinating, but the style was
turgid and boring. Ironically, Anbrose criticizes
Lewis' writing in a sentence that is 8 1/2 lines
long!
I learned a lot about the times in which Lewis
lived, but what was surprisingly weak was the
sense of wonder at the
magnificent discoveries the expedition made.
This was especially surprising in light of
Ambrose's personal interest in the outdoors.
It was an interesting book, but why is everyone
raving
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Come, Travel With The Corps!, 17. Oktober 2003
Von 
James Gallen (St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
"Undaunted Courage" is an outstanding narrative of the Lewis & Clark Expedition of two centuries ago. Pure history written like a novel, this is a difficult book to put down.
I must admit that my knowledge of the Corps of Discovery had been superficial. From the pages of "Undaunted Courage" I learned much.
This book begins with the background of Meriwether Lewis and the vision of Thomas Jefferson. We read much of Jefferson's interest in botany, zoology and geography as well as of his relationship with Lewis.
Ambrose takes us through the preparations for the journey. The collection of boats and supplies and the recruitment of explorers, followed by the descent down the Ohio and up the Mississippi move the Corps to the point of embarkation. One thing that I had never thought of was the need for winter camps. In our day, winter is an impediment to travel for a few days at most. The Corps, by contrast, went into winter camps at Wood River, Illinois, Fort Mandan in North Dakota and Fort Clatsop on the Pacific.
Ambrose takes us through the challenges of the expedition, both from the land and its inhabitants. The challenge of mountains and rapids tested the mettle of the Crops. The Corps interacted with a succession of Indian tribes, which often viewed each other as enemies. The goals of avoiding conflict and laying he groundwork for an American fur-trading empire were only partially achieved. Despite dangerous divisions of forces, no explorers were lost to hostile fire. Although open warfare was avoided, they left behind an Indian Country in disarray and suspicious of American intentions.
Well deserved attention is given to Sacagawea, the Shoshone interpreter without whom the expedition would probably would have been lost. The communication process was so cumbersome that it is amazing that the Corps got on as well as it did. Sacagawea would speak with the Indians and would interpret into Hidatsu to her husband, Touissant Charbonneau. Charbonneau would speak to George Drouillard in French, who would speak to the Captains in English.
Another interesting thread running through the story is that of the barter between the Corps and the Indians. When many of the items brought to barter failed to satisfy, the explorers were forced to trade their own equipment for necessities. The variety of trading skills among the tribes leaves the reader with an insight into the universal commercial spirit.
Toward the end of the book, Ambrose follow the unraveling of Meriwether Lewis. Driven by drink, disease and depression, Lewis failed to complete the publication of his journals and performed poorly in his role as Governor of Louisiana en route to his tragic end.
True, Lewis and Clark did not achieve everything possible on their journey, but their record was memorable. Overcoming winter and summer, Indians and animals, the Corps of Discovery earned its place in the annals of exploration. "Undaunted Courage" is a narrative worthy of its subjects. Come, travel with the Corps of Discovery across the pages of this book.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen America�s greatest adventure story brilliantly told, 24. Juli 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West (Taschenbuch)
"Undaunted Courage" is historian Stephen E. Ambrose's masterfully told and compelling account of The Lewis and Clark expedition, one of the most historically significant journeys of exploration in American history.
Relying extensively on the Journals of Lewis and Clark, Ambrose has put together a highly entertaining, meticulously researched, wonderfully readable, and fast paced narrative that interweaves a fascinating biography of Meriwether Lewis with a spellbinding account of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Ambrose captures completely with his fast-paced narrative the key events of the Lewis and Clark expedition. With a keen eye for detail, he describes the formation of the Corps of Discovery; its ascent to the headwaters of the Missouri River and its many encounters with native tribes along the way; the crossing of the "Great Portage," the Continental Divide, and the Rocky Nountains; and its encampment in November 1805 on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, at the mouth of the Columbia River. Also described is the expedition's return voyage, when the expedition once again searched in vain for a water route to the Pacific, and also when the expedition had its one and only hostile engagement with natives. Finally, Ambrose describes the aftermath of the expedition - how the Journals of Lewis and Clark came to be published, and the divergent (and, for Lewis, ultimately tragic) careers of these two great explorers.
I found Ambrose's portraits of the key players in this real-life drama to be superb! Lewis is a born naturalist with a keen eye for scientific observation. He's also a gifted leader of men, ever conscious of his subordinates' welfare, and always gaining from them loyalty that is complete and willingly given. Clark, the "co-captain" (in reality the second in command), is a less gifted scientist, but equal to Lewis in leadership ability, and in many ways a more talented explorer and map maker. Jefferson, perhaps America's greatest genius of the Age of Enlightenment, is the man possessed with the vision to see that the voyage is undertaken. Sacagawea, the teenage Shoshone girl, kidnapped from her tribe, sold to Canadian traders, and the mother of a newborn son, is possessed with remarkable stoicism and diplomatic skills which become essential to the Corps of Discovery's survival. In addition, Ambrose proves himself to be a first-rate nature writer himself, with his breathtaking descriptions of the flora, fauna, and physical beauty of the American Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, and Pacific Northwest.
"Undaunted Courage" is America's great adventure story, told by one of this nation's foremost contemporary historians and biographers. Highly recommended!
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Undaunted Courage- A snapshot from American History, 6. April 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West (Taschenbuch)
The book details the Lewis and Clark expeditions beginning in 1803, and ending with their last voyage in September 1809. There are illustrations and drawings, along with maps tracing the journeys through a wild and wooly American frontier. The book is very descriptive and very lengthy, at 521 pages. From the beginning, Stephen Ambrose describes Meriwether Lewis as an adventurer, a naturalist, and ever eager for a new adventure. The oil painting by Charles Peale was a nice touch. There was a lot of information regarding Meriwether's boyhood and growing up in young America. I got the impression that he was a pretty rough and tumble kid, just the sort of personality you'd expect from a person of the frontier. Even his mother was pictured as a self-sufficient individual. I liked the part about her killing the deer and having it prepared by the time the men returned home from "hunting". If I were going to live in the wilderness with Indians in the woods, I would've wanted her there. Stating the book is long is a tremendous understatement. It is immense, full of detailed descriptions of the players at the time, the equipment, armaments, the vessels, everything. Maybe a bit overdone. There are also references to events and relationships with present day situations. For example, Lewis' Newfoundland "Seaman" delighted everyone in catching and killing several black squirrels, providing for the hot meal that evening. It was a good imaginative representation of the time period and the first journey. I don't feel it was necessary to add that there are almost no black squirrels left today. We humans know we have dealt most wild animals a terrible hand. My objections though are few. The descriptions of the land, the journey, and the cultures that were encountered were well written. This is the kind of book that should be read at a slower pace, stopping at times to reflect on what it must have been like back then. Besides getting to know Lewis and Clark, the book affords a personal view of President Thomas Jefferson. I highly recommend the book for anyone who likes an adventure, and especially is proud to be an American.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Fresh, new story of Lewis & Clark in you-are-there language, 3. Januar 2000
Von 
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West (Taschenbuch)
This is a fresh, new story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition which brought about major expansion of U.S. land and population. A thorough researcher, author Stephen Ambrose provides new insights into the character and motivation of those who conceived the Expedition and those who carried it out. Undaunted Courage is written in day-by-day "you are there" language... you feel the excitement, danger, brutal hardship and triumphs that this courageous band of thirty experienced during the two-year period of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, May 1804 to September, 1806.
You experience fully these profound events in our history because writer Ambrose is particularly skillful at presenting vivid word pictures of our country at the time Jefferson became president, March 4, 1801. The U. S. Population was over five-million. Our smaller boundaries ranged from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, the Great Lakes and the Gulf Most people lived within fifty miles of water: the interior was a vast, unexplored wilderness.
Nothing, in those days, moved faster than a horse, and as far as anybody knew, nothing ever would. That's why Jefferson promoted finding a water route to the Pacific. It took six weeks to move information overland from the Mississippi River to Washington D.C. Sixty years later, when Lincoln took office, information moved almost instantly by telegraph.
New research brought to light in this best seller reaffirms the towering stature of the leading players, Thomas Jefferson, Lewis and Clark. Throughout the book, one becomes increasingly aware of the extraordinarily high degree of energy, intelligence, intuitive judgement and sheer physical prowess of these historical figures, particularly Thomas Jefferson, who stands out as a brilliant thinker-and-doer in the development and growth of this country, yet not without his own quixotic, very human foibles.
For anyone with a genuine interest on how America came to be, this is surely a must-read book.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen wow, that was long trip, 1. November 1999
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West (Taschenbuch)
Ambrose chose a huge sprawling subject and wrote a medium size book that does not sprawl at all. In order to accomplish this he had to write in an almost telegraphic style. This book is largely descriptive with frequent, but brief interpretive asides.
Ambrose's admiration for Meriwether Lewis is great, but he is not remiss in pointing out when the brave captain was rash and showed bad judgement. One ominous theme that Ambrose keeps returning to is the mental illness that ran in Lewis's family. He is careful never to explicitly label an act of rashness as an "episode", but he implies it.
Anyone fascinated by native American cultures should read this book. It offers a tantalizing look at several tribes either at or immediately following "contact". If you know anything about the later history of the tribes of the Upper Missouri and Pacific Northwest, this book just drips with tragedy and none of it is spelled out in a silly melodramatic way; Ambrose's restraint makes the impact that much greater.
One thing that I found jarring about the writing in this book was Ambrose's irregular tendency to insert sentences in vernacular rather than standard written English. Lewis and Clark and their expedition are occasionally referred to as "guys" and what they are carrying is called "stuff". This sort of casual voice seemed out of place to me and broke the mood of the narrative.
If you don't expect history books to be particularly literary, but just to tell a good story, then you'll think this is a terrific book. If you are looking for a meditation on the ramifications of the L&C expedition with regard to the settling of the American West, then this book is a little sparse on analysis, although it is good about reporting salient information. Having read it, I guess I feel prepared to read more in-depth account about smaller segments of this story.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Another superb Ambrose work, 19. April 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West (Taschenbuch)
For me, Undaunted Courage seemed to start off incredibly slow, but it turned into a 'just one more page' type of reading once the expedition began. Ambrose, a professional historian and graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison (Chapman and Jorgenson, 8), has been forever interested in the Lewis and Clark travels since reading the Biddle edition of the journals of Lewis and Clark in 1975. Ambrose, a doctor of American History and former professor of history at the University of New Orleans (Chapman and Jorgenson, 8), is best known for his critically acclaimed, best-selling masterpiece D-Day. He didn't fall short of another masterpiece with Undaunted Courage. Ambrose is most appreciated for his "uncommon ability to bring history and historical actors to vivid life" (Chapman and Jorgenson, 10). He is particularly good at making Meriwether Lewis come alive in Undaunted Courage. He introduces the reader to a new side of Lewis - a side that is at times fascinating, yet frustrating to understand. Ambrose's account forces the reader to delve into the material and examine everything they previously thought about Meriwether Lewis and his heroic travels west. As I reexamined my ideas of Lewis, I was shocked to discover that there was so much I never learned. This work has opened me up to a completely different side of Meriwether Lewis. The hero portrayed in high school history texts differs greatly from the hero described by Ambrose. Although he is no less a hero, Ambrose's Lewis has problems that never make it into most history textbooks. He battles alcoholism and depression so serious "that it caused him unbearable pain" (471). These are characteristics I never would have associated with Lewis. I find it disturbing that Lewis' faults are never mentioned in classroom settings. However, that was part of the reason this book had such an impact on me . . . I learned so much from it. This book showed me that even heroes are human and that even the people who are respected and adorned are not always happy with themselves. Undaunted Courage could have easily been a book of fact after boring fact, but it was not. Ambrose's objectivity, devotion, and never-ending infatuation with the Lewis and Clark expedition helps keep the book interesting. It is filled with interesting facts about characters and the expedition itself, but what enjoyed most about the novel involved Ambrose's own experiences on that famous trail. Combined with quotes and authentic journal excerpts from both Lewis and Clark, the book is a masterpiece. Nothing is left unanswered. Everyone should read this book.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Undaunted Courage is a joyful bit of history to read., 1. April 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West (Taschenbuch)
Undaunted Courage explores all aspects of the Lewis and Clark expedition. It gives a biographical account of Lewis that details the life of a Virginian plantation owner through childhood into his adult years. The importance that land played to plantation owners accounts for Lewi's strong interest in expanding knowledge about land in North America. This land was an untapped resource, Jefferson, as well as other educated people of the time were anxious to discover and obtain what the United States had to offer them. Ambrose clearly emphasizes the political aspects of the expedition. These were to find an all water route to the Pacific Ocean for the benefit of trade. As with all military endevors, the costs of this venture had to be justified. Jeffereson as well as Lewis had to "sell" their proposal to those who were opposed to the idea. Like all things, some, mainly the Federalists in this case, thought the United States already owned enough land. Ambrose does a magnificant job of including the misconceptions about the land, Native Americans, and the expedition itself, without making the reader feel that the American forefathers were uneducated. In fact, Ambrose does quite the opposite. He portrays the vast amount of knowledge that these men knew about their world. The fact that they were hungry for more knowledge of America proves just how educated they were. The wonderful details of everyday life on the expedition included from letters and journal entries allow the reader to feel present. These are the things that make the book different from ordinary history books. We are able to see what Lewis was actually like, how he treated his men, what he thought of Indians, and perhaps more importantly, what he thought of the world around him. Lewis was entering a world that had not been written about, explored, or tamed by any other white man. His descriptions of what are ordinary to us in modern society provide a new appreciation of the United States and all which it stands for.
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